The Super Eagles secured qualification to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by topping Group A following a 6-0 victory over Sao Tome and Principe at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Sunday evening.
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen took his tally in 2023 AFCON qualifying to ten goals; the Super Eagles’ other scorers were Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi and Samuel Chukwueze.
Abbeylivenetwork.com presents five observations from the big win over the The Falcons and True Parrots Team.
1. Victor Osimhen bags a hat-trick, moves closer to Rashidi Yekini’s goal tally
The number of goals the Napoli striker will score against Sao Tome and Principe was one of the talking points ahead of the game.
Osimhen delighted the Nigerian fans with a hat-trick to take his tally with the national team to 20 goals from 26 games.
With the goals, the Napoli striker is 17 goals away from matching Yekini’s tally of 37 for the Eagles.
2. Nigeria need more quality midfielders
Against Sao Tome and Principe, Jose Peseiro started with the duo of Frank Onyeka and Wilfred Ndidi and kept Joe Aribo and Raphael Onyedika on the bench.
Onyeka and Ndidi had a decent game, with the Leicester City midfielder capping his display with the assist for Lookman’s goal.
However, compared to the Super Eagles’ excellent options in attack, the team is lacking the x-factor in midfield.
Even against a limited opponent like Sao Tome and Principe, Onyeka and Ndidi struggled to dominate the centre of the pack.
3. Bruno Onyemaechi impresses on his debut.
Onyemaechi was trusted by Jose Peseiro to start at left back in the absence of Zaidu Sanusi and with Calvin Bassey shifted to a centre-back role.
The Boavista fullback did not look out of place and made an impression on the Portuguese manager with his performance in Uyo.
The 24-year-old was exciting on the left flank with his runs and understanding with Ademola Lookman. He was also solid defensively, neutralizing Sao Tome’s attack when targeted.
4. Goalkeeping Conudrum
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro handed APOEL Nicosia goalkeeper Francis Uzoho the gloves for Sunday’s game in Uyo.
Uzoho was virtually untroubled throughout the duration of the game as the opponents had zero goal attempt in the no-contest.
Peseiro could have let Enyimba’s Ojo Olorunleke the chance to show what he can offer in the match.
If Peseiro persisted in inviting the foreign legion, it would have also been a great idea to invite some keepers who have shown promise for their clubs but yet to play for Nigeria.
Swiss-born Sebastian Osigwe is a good example.
5. Attacking Options For Super Eagles
The team welcomed two new members of its attacking force in the persons of Victor Boniface and Gift Orban.
The former made his international debut for Nigeria while the latter only misses out due to injury in training.
Despite the team relying mostly on the firepower of Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen for its goals – he bagged a hat-trick on Sunday – it is gratifying to note that the team have in their arsenal, two quality forwards who are in great form for their respective European clubs.
The Bayer Leverkusen and Gent strikers will strike fears in the defenders that they face.
The prospect of playing at the AFCON is already tantalizing by the thought of it.